Tropical Storm Nicholas briefly strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane overnight just before it made landfall on the Texas coast around 2 a.m., and by Tuesday morning it was still battering Texas with 60 mph winds and drenching rains.
Nicholas smashed up barrier island towns like Surfside Beach, south of Galveston, flooded roads and yards, and knocked out power to more than 400,000 customers in the Houston area, according to the utility.
Its path this week will take it over Louisiana, dumping even more rain on areas still recovering from the devastating blow of Category 4 Hurricane Ida a few weeks ago.
The National Weather Service predicts New Orleans could see 6 to 10 inches of rain this week, with Mississippi and the Panhandle also feeling up to 8 inches in some spots along the coast. The region is also at risk for life-threatening flash floods as Nicholas crawls along the coast.
As of 8 a.m., the storm was still holding storm with 60 mph winds that extended 125 miles from the center and moving north at 8 mph. It was just 15 miles south-southwest of Houston, Texas and 90 miles west-southwest of Beaumont.
The northeast coast of Texas and the southernmost coast of Louisiana remain under a storm surge warning, as Nicholas is expected to bring three to five feet of storm surge in places like Galveston Bay.
The tropical wave near Africa is on the verge of strengthening into a tropical depression in the next couple of days as it heads west across the Atlantic at 15 mph. As of the 8 a.m. update, forecasters gave it a 70% chance of developing in the next two days and a 90% chance within the next five.
The other disturbance, the low-pressure system expected to form north of the Bahamas, saw its chances of formation grow overnight. Forecasters said the system could possibly develop into a tropical depression this week and upped its chances of strengthening to 30% in the next two days and 60% in the next five. If it does form, forecasters expect it will keep moving north-northwest.
The next storm names are Odette and Peter.©2021 Miami Herald. Visit at miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.